As a kid, I loved playing RPG’s like “Final Fantasy”, “The Legend of Zelda”, and “Chrono Trigger”. Back then, RPG’s were great. The worlds seemed huge (without taking forever to get somewhere), the battles were fun and mostly non-repetitive, and sceneries were breath taking. It’s hard to find games that have all those dynamics when it comes to RPG’s. These days, developers are making their games bigger and flashier, but “Trulon: The Shadow Engine” from developer Kyy Games goes back to the roots of RPG’s and does a great job of taking us back to the “good ol’ days” when we didn’t have to be adults and could just sit around and play video games all day, getting lost in the experience. This game has it all: the nostalgia of big worlds without having to run, drive, fly, or swim for hours to get somewhere, a new and refreshing battle system, and stunning set pieces.
You play as Gladia, a female monster hunter whose father’s injuries prevent him from leaving the house. He’s summoned by the mayor of the town and you’re asked to go in his stead. The mayor asks you to investigate some unusual monster sightings in the woods, and from there the story takes off as questions and mysteries arise.
One clear positive in this game is its traversal mechanics. Just like in the “games of yore,” you’re given a large overworld map when traveling from area to area, but thankfully, these moment are very brief. Along the way, you’re randomly given the option to investigate areas. Choosing to do so could reward you with experience points, an enemy encounter, or even new cards for battle that offer varying degrees of attack points or abilities to use when fighting enemies.
Which brings us to the truly unique aspect of this game: the card-based battle system, which is far different from any other game of its kind I’ve played before. Upon entering an encounter, you start with as many cards from your collection as you want (I had 15 at most), however only five are shown and available to use at the beginning of a fight. Each time you use a card, it’s replaced by the next card in your deck until you run out of cards. The real strategy here is finding the sweet spot of number of cards to have in your deck to keep you from being forced to wait too long for the cards you really want. Every battle is different and takes a bit of strategy in terms of developing the correct deck for the current situation. The system itself was a refreshing change of pace to the typical grind of traditional JRPG’s. The enemies are clearly displayed both before and during battles to aid in organizing your deck, and the game does a great job of informing you plainly of both yours and your enemies’ next moves. “Trulon the Shadow Engine” respected my time as the battles never overstayed their welcome, and I truly appreciated this aspect that is usually a chore in similar games.
The visuals are stunning with beautiful, bright colors, and I caught myself just taking in all in on more than one occasion. Gladia, in particular, has some gorgeous animations that make her look like a character straight out of a Saturday morning cartoon. The tiny details with the movement of her arms, legs, and even her scarf truly made the character pop on-screen. I thoroughly enjoyed watching this game in action.
My only complaint is the lack of any kind of sprinting mechanic for Gladia. Since I had to backtrack to several areas, this is one mechanic that was sorely missed, especially since the rest of the game moved at such a great clip. This was far from being a deal-breaker for me, however. NPC characters rarely said the same dialogue, and there was enough changing in the world around you to keep these segments of the game from feeling too repetitive.
“Trulon: The Shadow Engine” is a wonderful indie game. Despite being just over seven hours long, it’s still worth every penny. I highly recommend this game to anyone who is wanting a fun game to sit back, relax, and just enjoy it. The game is beautiful, has a new interesting battle system, and is a flashback to the old RPG’s that many older gamers grew up playing. I will be recommending this title to everyone I know that enjoys role playing games. I’ll definitely have my eye on Kyy Games to see what they put out in the future. They’ve definitely piqued my interest, and I’m sure they’ll have yours as well after trying this gem.
“Trulon: The Shadow Engine” releases on Xbox One on February 24th, but is currently available on mobile platfors as well as PC. This review was written on the Xbox One version.